March 21, 2017

Photo Native / Styled Bridal Shoot / Salt Lake City, UT

This blog post is long overdue, but I’ve been struggling with how to adequately write about my experience at Photo Native. I have so much I want to say and share, but I just don’t have the words! So, I will do my best.

As an artist, I am constantly feeling that desire to push myself and grow. Satisfaction rarely comes easy, if at all, and I’m always wanting to be better than I was yesterday. I used to get caught up in the comparison game, and as a result, I would hate my own work and feel this overwhelming sense of insecurity and lack of validation as a photographer. It took a year of rebranding, journaling, and experimenting to really figure out who I am and what fuels me as a creative. Once I got to the point of knowing where I was, and where I wanted to be, I was able to stop comparing myself to OTHER people, and compare myself…. to myself. I’ve made so many goals for 2017, which will continue to challenge and push me. I plan to always strive to be better than the photographer I was a month ago, a year ago, a day ago. One of my biggest desires and goals was to do a workshop or conference. I knew that it would a spendy investment, and it would mean time away from my family, but the more research I did, and the more experiences I read about, the more I knew it couldn’t just be a goal… it needed to be real. So, with my husband’s unrelenting support, I bought my first ever workshop ticket!

The workshop I chose to do was Photo Native. This workshop is less about shooting, and more about learning. I flew to Utah (my first EVER trip alone) and spent 3 amazing days in Provo and Salt Lake City. The majority of this workshop was set up like a lecture hall. We were in “class” from about 9am – 5pm, with an hour lunch. Each class was unique and taught by its own amazingly talented photographer (people I’ve looked up to since day 1 of pursuing photography!). However, the very first day of the conference was dedicated to a shoot out. Each photographer offered their own shoot, and after reading every bio and every option, I ultimately chose to do a styled bridal shoot, hosted by The Hickenloopers.

BEST. DECISION. EVER.

Not only were the Hickenloopers so encouraging, and real, and humble, but the shoot they put together was unlike anything I’ve EVER done. First of all, it was inside a studio. So, that intimidated me. But every single detail was so thought out and unique, I felt like I had stepped in to a dream world. One with beautiful models, amazing decor, and the most amazing people! I love every person I met, and almost every photographer I met in person, I still connect with daily (thank you social media!).

I was indeed challenged, frustrated, but PUSHED more than I thought possible. I feel, personally, that I grew so much as a photographer and artist. I learned SO much, I filled pages and pages of my notebook, top to bottom (mixed with random scribbles and doodles, sure). The instructors were so motivating and honest, it was insanely refreshing. To hear of other’s struggles, triumphs, and stories… it was like a huge slap in the face, in the best way possible. We ALL struggle. We all grow. And we will continue to grow as long as we make it a priority in our business.

I’ve already booked my next workshop, and I plan to shoot for myself at least once a month for the entirety of 2017. I’m shooting in different light, with new techniques, and with a completely new perspective. It’s hard finding your place in such a big market. It’s hard to stand out and make a successful business out of a true passion. But, with relentless determination and a true burning desire to succeed, anything can happen!

So, if you’re still here, thank you. Thanks for listening to my ramble, even if it barely made sense. This experience was one I’ll never forget. From the flight, to my crazy uber driver, to the people I met, the classes, instructors, the dance party, and delicious cotton candy… to this incredible shoot. It was an opportunity I will forever be grateful for!

All vendors are listed below, with hyperlinks to their instagrams! Be sure to check them out! 🙂

Huge thanks to @hickenloopers for this amazing class! You two are AMAZING, and getting to learn from you was absolutely everything and more I had hoped it would be. 

Styling/Macrame altar: Renata Stone @renatastone
Flowers: @thepottedpansy
Dress: @altamodabridal
Cake: @flourandflourish

Models: @rivergrover@jayceegrover
Photography: @moniqueserraphotography

Location: The Charcoal Loft

And of course, THANK you PHOTO NATIVE for this incredible experience.